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Riverhounds SC Notebook: Battle for roster spots continues

Photo credit: Jared Todhunter

This will be a relatively short edition of the Riverhounds SC Notebook, as the club is already in midst of week four of preseason training camp with a match on tap against USL Championship side Loudoun United at Highmark Stadium slated for Wednesday, but I still wanted to address the club’s newest signings and also provide the most up-to-date trialist list.

The battle among players trying to get onto the roster should be a pretty good one in the next two or three weeks. At this point the Hounds have 17 players signed, and another 11 trialists in camp.

Initial Thoughts on Two New Signings 

The Hounds announced the signing of two players who have been in preseason camp since early February, Skylar Thomas and Danny Vitiello.

New Hounds: Club signs defender Skylar Thomas and goalkeeper Danny Vitiello

Thomas provides experience, size and athletic ability in the back — all attributes that Bob Lilley is counting on to keep the Hounds on track in having one of the top defensive outfits in the USL Championship once again.  While some fans may have been concerned initially with the losses of Joe Greenspan and Tobi Adewole, Thomas brings a bit more experience than Adewole and seeing that he’s scored five goals in his pro career that’s spanned nearly 100 matches played in USL Championship, and another 22 in Canadian Premier League, he can get up and be a dangerous threat in the box on set pieces.

Here’s a good example, when with Canada’s U23 team, where he outjumped the field to bang one in.

In the preseason, Thomas has looked solid in one-on-one defending situations. He is also another big guy (standing at 6’5″) — that can potentially roam the middle of the three center back set-up or one of two center backs in a four-man back line.

Vitiello fits the mold of a Bob Lilley goalkeeper: still a relatively young player, who spent some time with a pro club learning the tricks of the trade, but still hasn’t really had his chance to be a number one guy.  I am sure that he’ll have his chance to compete for the starting role with the club in preseason and into the early part of the season.

In his first season as a pro, UAlbany’s all-time winningest goalkeeper and Long Island native played a year in Nashville SC under the tutelage of Matt Pickens, a grizzled veteran who played in MLS and was named USL Championship’s Golden Glove recipient in his farewell season while also serving at the club’s goalkeeping coach.

“Danny is a young goalkeeper with good habits and a bright future,” Lilley said. “He is a very capable shot-stopper who also has a good ability to play out of the back with his feet.”

Here are some of Vitiello’s highlights from his playing days at Albany.

Riverhounds SC Current Roster 

Forwards (4): Steevan Dos Santos, Lukas Fernandes, Mark Forrest, Ropapa Mensah

Midfielders (4): Kenardo Forbes, Robbie Mertz, Dani Rovira, Anthony Velarde

Defenders (7): Xhelil Asani, Jordan Dover, Ryan James, Mark Lindstrom, Skylar Thomas, Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Tony Walls

Goalkeepers (2): Anthony Mwembia, Danny Vitiello

Week 4 Trialist List

Name                                Position          Ht Wt                          Hometown (Previous Club)
Hunter Ashworth              D                     6-5 180                       Laguna Beach, Calif. (UCSB)
Dakota Barnathan             D                     6-2 165                      Massapequa, N.Y. (Ottawa Fury FC)
Osagi Bascome                 M                     5-11 NL                     Hamilton, Burmuda (Darlington)

Aydan Bowers                   M                     6-0 165                    Murrieta, Ca., (St. Francisco Glens SC)

Devin Boyce                      M                    5-10 155                    St. Louis, Mo. (Saint Louis University)
Patrick Bunk-Andersen      D                     6-2 172                     Copenhagen, Denmark (Toronto FC II)
Albert Dikwa                      F                     5-11 161                    Garoua, Cameroon (Saint Louis FC)
Tomas Gomez                  GK                    6-1 196                      Webster Groves, Mo. (Saint Louis FC)
Danny Griffin                     M                    5-9 165                      Wethersfield, Conn. (Providence College)
Sean MacLeod                   M                    6-2 157                      Troon, Scotland (University of Notre Dame)
Jerry Wiltshire                    D                     6-4 187                      London, England (Des Moines Menace)

What’s Ahead 

Look for coverage from Wednesday’s scrimmage from yours truly, and Mark Goodman will be at Highmark Stadium for Media Day on Friday.

The Hounds will start week five with its only preseason road trip of the season to Columbus to take on Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, who actually open its 2020 league campaign on Sunday against NYCFC.





John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

Glory on the Grass

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Riverhounds MF Kenardo Forbes

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